Those who were at The Rolling Stones concert are probably still recovering from one of the biggest shows of the year, but for those still up for a thrilling live experience will have plenty to take in with a monster roster of talented and beloved (albeit less talented) acts rolling through Houston this week.
It's clear that our fair city is now a destination for the best in the industry, a place that is circled on the itineraries of the largest bands and performers of the world when just 15 years ago, one would be lucky to see bigger acts on a less-than-desirable weeknight as they made their way to more favorable numbers in Austin or Dallas.
Now, these acts are playing big-time shows on weekends here, knowing they'll draw a large crowd. The reasons for this shift are too complex to delve into here, but they include a growing population; younger, more-educated workers moving to the city with more money to spend; as well as the expansion of the suburbs, making places like The Woodlands and Sugar Land viable locations for huge venues.
The fact is, we are living in a golden age for music in the Bayou City, which not only supports a strong local scene comprised of many genres, but also internationally acclaimed tours. In other words, it's a good time to be a concert-goer, and we should all be thankful that we live in such a diverse city that gifts us these wonderful opportunities.
CultureMap's biggest, best, and most notable shows of the week are:
The Suffers come home
Gulf Coast soul act, The Suffers, has had a tough year. They had a bunch of gear stolen from their van, and they lost a founding band member in bass player and all-around good guy Adam Castaneda, who sought to spend more time closer to home. But they've also been steadily working, touring North American and beyond, spreading the gospel of their eclectic mix of Houston sounds to countless crowds following the release of their second album, Everything Here, released last year.
So, no wonder that when the band announced their first hometown show in what seems like ages, at the Secret Room, it promptly sold out. And deservedly so. The Suffers are one of the best bands to come out Houston (in a long line of great bands) and are one that anyone with a tune in their heart should champion. It's just too bad they couldn't play a bigger venue so more of us could share the love.
The Suffers play a sold-out show at The Secret Group, located at 2101 Polk St., on Wednesday, July 31. Tickets are sold out. Doors open at 7 pm.
CultureMap recommends: Carly Rae Jepsen at HOB
Somewhere along the way, Carly Rae Jepsen turned a top-three finish on Canadian Idol into an influential career as one of today's best pop stars, not just in her native land (True North, strong and free) but in the world. Of course, it would all be for naught if she hadn't released one of the most memorable songs of the decade in the catchy as all get-out, No. 1 hit "Call Me Maybe."
What could have been a one-hit wonder fading into oblivion gave way to a smart and talented songwriter embracing her best instincts and building a name as a trendsetter, nowhere as apparent as on her latest album, Dedicated. Simply put, the world needs more pop stars like Jepsen, who really deserves to be playing Toyota Center instead of House of Blues just down the street.
Carly Rae Jepsen is at House of Blues, located at 1204 Caroline St., on Friday, August 2. Tickets start at $36, plus service fees. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Punk meets hip-hop: Blink-182 and Lil' Wayne
The road makes strange bedfellows. Maybe not as weird as former Blink-182 guitarist Tom DeLonge's obsession with aliens, but the tour combining the talents of the "What's My Age Again?" pop-punk band and eccentric hip-hop star Lil' Wayne is certainly up there for wow factor.
What probably sounded good at the time when his managers pitched it to him, Wayne has come to the conclusion that perhaps the audiences might be turning up for the very popular Blink-182, who played a great set at RodeoHouston back in 2017. Still, the entertainment value of having these two very different acts on the same bill makes it almost worth standing outside in the heat of The Woodlands in August.
Blink-182 and Lil’ Wayne are at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, located at 2005 Lake Robbins Dr. in The Woodlands, on Wednesday, July 31. Tickets start at $37.50, plus fees. Gates open at 6 pm.
CultureMap show of the week: The pride of NYC: Mary J. Blige and Nas
Now this is a bill to get behind. The reigning queen of hip-hop soul joins forces with one of the best rappers in the history of the genre when NYC natives Mary J. Blige and Nas perform at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.
One of the classiest and best performers in music since her groundbreaking debut, What's the 411?, came out in 1992, Blige has sold millions of albums and racked up countless awards for her strong female voice and genius-level talents, laying the groundwork for countless stars. Cardi B and Nicki Minaj owe this legend a debt of gratitude.
Nas, real name Nasir Jones, is one of the best lyricists in the history of the rap game, immediately taking over the hip-hop world with 1994's Illmatic, largely considered one of the best rap albums ever. Nas' quality of output remained high, and he maintained a loyal fanbase throughout the last 25 years. His latest is 2018's Nasir. Along with Blige, this will be a greatest hits-laden show, one that diehards for either performer won't be disappointed to see.
Mary J. Blige and Nas are at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, located at 2005 Lake Robbins Dr. in The Woodlands, on Friday, August 2. Tickets start at $29.99, plus fees. Gates open at 7 pm.
Sublime with Rome and Michael Franti & Spearhead
It would have been easy to write off California natives Sublime with Rome following the death of former frontman Bradley Nowell due to drug overdose in 1996, then at the height of their popularity. But the band soldiered on, teaming up with vocalist Rome Ramirez, and has maintained a decent career, playing old hits from Nowell's days, such as "What I Got," "Wrong Way," and "Santeria," with new material. They are back on the road with 2019's Blessings.
They'll be joined by one of the more eclectic and cool performers these days, Michael Franti and Spearhead, the San Francisco-born cult act that combines multiple genres with a forward-thinking message that has endeared the band to a good audience despite little-to-no radio airplay. They are on the road to promote Stay Human, Vol. 2.
Sublime with Rome and Michael Franti & Spearhead play the White Oak Music Hall lawn, located at 2915 N. Main St., on Saturday, August 3. Common Kings and Seranation open. Tickets start at $42, plus fees. Gates open at 6 pm.
2 Legit 2 Quit: Hammer's House Party
It's been so long, it's hard to remember how popular MC Hammer aka Stanley Kirk Burrell was when he first rose to fame in the late '80s, early '90s. His third album, Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em spent a incredible 21 weeks at No.1, largely thanks to the seemingly untouchable "U Can't Touch This," with it's Rick James "Super Freak" bassline and catchy hook that took the music world by storm, even influencing kids to wear what is affectionately and cringingly remembered as the baggy Hammer pants.
By the time music tastes had moved on to harder-edged hip-hop, he had lost millions of dollars due to bad financial decisions.
Thankfully, Hammer survived and is now back on the nostalgia circuit, bringing a handful of legends from his heyday, including "Baby Got Back" star Sir Mix-A-Lot, Doug E. Fresh, former movie and '80s hip-hop stars Kid N Play, and "Funky Cold Medina" luminary Tone Loc. In other words, this one will be a feel-good, hit-driven show that anyone who grew up 30 years ago will find some pleasure in witnessing.
Hammer’s House Party, starring MC Hammer, is at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, located at 2005 Lake Robbins Dr. in The Woodlands, on Saturday, August 3. Sir Mix-A-Lot, Doug E. Fresh, Kid N Play, Rob Base, and Tone Loc also appear. Tickets start at $29.50, plus fees. Gates open at 5 pm.